Predicting things, especially when they are about the future remains hard.
In a somewhat suprising turn of events, we’ve decided to come home early and not make the trek to Latin America. Importantly (to me at least) this decision was made when were in a good place (metaphorically and mentally speaking) rather than in a bad place. Going to Maderia was a great decision and helped us regain our energy. When we were in Lisbon, we spent a lot of time thinking about where we might want to go and ultimately, the place we’d most like to be in the world is in Boulder.
My dad described this trip as an experiment to live a radically unrooted life. One of the things that we’ve learned on the trip is that sort of existence is not for us. A major goal of the trip was to do some empirical data gathering for what we might like our retirement to be like. Before the trip, we thought it might include long periods of travel in places around the world, but now we think that is unlikely. Which is incredibly valuable information to have, it changes very much the nature of how we will plan for the future.
I intended to write about the many other things that we’ve learned, but this will need to do for now. I suppose its important to convey that I think the trip was a resounding success, despite much of it being quite hard. And that I consider this a change we’re making on our own terms because we want to, not because we have to. And what really feels more empowering than that.
One of the difficult things about doing better is that I find it much more jarring and suprising when I am depressed again. I was depressed most of the time we were in Lisbon and I think that was mostly a function of the environment we were in. While I wouldn’t prefer it, there was something that was easier about being regularly depressed. Now, when I’m doing well, the idea of being depressed seems so distant and I almost come to doubt that I could have actually been feeling like that. But there is a powerful asymetry here in that when I’m depressed now, I can more easily remember what it was like to be doing well, whereas when this first started happening to me, it became difficult to remember when things were not cloudy, detached and hard.
I had a particuarly rough experience yesterday. I’m reminded of the saying about how its hard to be lonely when you’re by yourself, but its so much better than to be lonely in the middle of a crowd. Being detached and numb while swimming in the ocean was that sort of experience for me. I remain feeling very grateful that i’m not the sort of person who would blame myself or exerperience guilt over being depressed and I continue just trying to be kind to myself. I’m doing much better today, which I’m also very appreciative of.
Another major goal of the trip for me was to learn how to live with depression and help mitigate its toll on my life. While, I think it was too much to hope for being completely depression free, I do think that the trip was quite helpful in this regard. I’m way more in touch with how my body feels and can tell much better what it needs and when. The two most common things being on opposite ends of the spectrum — exercise or rest. The data scientist part of me finds it hard to stop looking for the causal components and some of that is probably still ok, but the novice mindfulness practicioner part of me continues to find it easier to accept what is regardless of how it came to be.
Re-entry may be hard, in fact it will likely be hard. But i’m very much looking forward to spending a lot of time with supportive friends and family. And playing a lot of games :)